It's the Star Trek-inspired future we were promised — walls that glow and change colour, perhaps with just a gentle voice command. And it's finally (almost) possible thanks to a series of advances in OLED sheets. This new lighting solution also uses half as much energy than existing fluorescent lights. It is, however, pretty expensive.
New OLED technology that lets you laminate light to surfaces like walls or ceilings is starting to hit the market. These OLEDs run cooler than existing LEDs, so there's no need for bulky heat sinks, making big sheets of light a reality. But, as the MIT Technology Review points out, the impressive technology is also 10 to 100 times more expensive than conventional lighting. So it's really expensive.
OLED technology is expensive across the board, but big companies are actively working on bringing the price down. Konica-Minolta and Philips are just two companies that plan to scale up production of OLED sheets in the next couple of years. And since sheets used for lighting don't actually need to be manufactured using the same equipment as high resolution displays, a few tweaks in the logistics could make a big difference for their bottom line. While an OLED lamp costs about $US9,000 now, Philips aims to make them as cheap as $US600 a piece by 2017.
No word yet on how expensive the wallpaper of the future will be. It will definitely be beautiful though. [Tech Review]
Picture: Tech Review